Critical eyes

hpteamLeaders must have a critical eye.  They must develop a habit of looking for opportunities to improve themselves and their team.  With a critical eye they will start seeing those opportunities.
Now, when I say opportunities, I am not suggesting that the leader look for all the things that are wrong.  On the contrary.  Those opportunities are those habits, skills, and activities that can use improvement and praise.
Without a critical eye the leader can not effectively move through the stages of team development.  The leader will overlook opportunities to move the team forward.
Using the EDGE method of leading and teaching, the leader with a critical eye will spot those skills and habits that are holding the team back not allowing them to be a high performance team.
It is easy for a leader to walk past a Scout struggling to get his tent packed.  It is not only a good example of being helpful, but also a confidence builder for the team when the leader steps up and pitches in demonstrating his skill and ability to lead.
Over the last weekend I had the opportunity to see this in action.  Our Senior Patrol leader assisted a new Scout in getting his tent stored properly.  This was a nice thing to do, but as a leader myself I could not resist the opportunity to teach the Senior Patrol leader some leadership.  After the Senior Patrol Leader finished showing the new Scout how to fold and roll his tent,  He handed him the stored tent and walked away.
Pulling the Senior Patrol Leader aside, I asked him which of the 4 methods of EDGE did he use to teach the new Scout how to fold his tent.  Demonstrate, He replied.  Absolutely I told him, but do you think he now knows how to put his tent away?  Not sure said the Senior Patrol leader.  Well, How will you know?  When he does it right the next time he suggested.  So when is that I asked.  Well, we have time now he said and returned to the new Scout.  He explained to him that he knew that he putting his tent away properly was a piece of cake and that now that he had been taught, he could do it right each time.  Then he asked to see the tent, took it out of the bag and unfolded it.  Then he told the new Scout to show him how to do it.  The new Scout did the skill correctly and received some great positive reinforcement from the Senior Patrol leader.
All of this is to say, that we tend to leave it at that.  No matter what the skill or task is, we tend to leave it at the basic level.  Unfortunately most of the time this leads to a lack of learning and skills are underdeveloped.  As leaders we know that it is a lot easier to look the other way, take the path of least resistance, and allow skills to remain mediocre.  It is an effective leader that wants his team, troop, crew what ever to be the best to be a high performance team.
One of the things that we work on with our junior leaders is having a critical eye.  At first, they focus on only those skills and tasks that are not being done well. Once they realize the importance of seeing the good and the bad, they become better leaders and as a result they start moving their unit to a high performance team.
Just something to think about.
Develop a critical eye in you and your junior leaders.. the results will amaze you!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Passing it on

001GilwellI have always been a fan of training.  I think that training makes us better.  The more you know, the better equipped you are to lead.  In Scouting the more you know about the program, the more you know about skills, and the more you know about working with young people, the better you will be to deliver the promise of Scouting.
So it is important to attend training.  One of the best ways to keep up and stay sharp in your skills is to teach them.  It is for that reason that we require our Scouts to teach using the EDGE method.  It is that teaching of skills that keeps them sharp and enhances their skill sets.
Once again, I am serving on this years Wood Badge staff.  My position this year is the Assistant Scribe for the course.  While that seems like a position that would require teaching, I have been tasked with presentations on Values, Mission, and Vision and the Stages of Team Development.  Having been on two other staffs as well as serving as a guest presenter on another course, I have been looked to for assistants in many areas while on course.  Helping the Troop Guides where I can and perhaps the most important job of being a good model.  Speaking the right language of Scouting, looking the part, and providing direction for the participants is the role of all staff members.
Being on the Wood Badge staff is something that I really enjoy.  The more I do it, the more I see the impact of Wood Badge on the Scouting world,  I see the value in learning and passing on knowledge to the people that will ultimately go out and serve youth.
Being on the Wood Badge staff I am happy to being passing it on.  Making Scouters and Scouting better.
In the first session of this years course the came together and really did an amazing job delivering the program.  Of course there are lots of fun, games, and traditions in Wood Badge and some times we get caught up in all of the “stuff” of the course.  Critters, decorations, and doing things a certain way that have nothing to do with training.  That is where we need to stay focused, and pardon the pun, stay the course.
There is nothing wrong with tradition, fun, and stuff… but we need to remember that we are there to pass on knowledge.  One of my mentors past on a great bit of wisdom during a staff meeting.  He said that we must change what people know so we can change what people do.  Many Scouters do not really know Scouting.  They are all great people and are willing to volunteer, help out in many ways, and do what it takes for their sons and their sons friends to have a great Scouting experience.  They pay to come to Wood Badge and gain knowledge.  It is up to us to pay that forward and give it to them.
They, like our Scouts, don’t know what they don’t know.  We have to teach them.  We have to pass on our institutional knowledge and practical experience so Scouting will being strong.
That is also a reason I do this blog.  Passing it on is not only a great way for me to keep up, but to pass on what I know.
I know that I have not been active on the blog lately.  Wood Badge and a super active program have kept me off the blog.  I apologize to those of you that come here looking for frequent updates.  I will renew my commitment to the blog.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Centuries of Service

This year for the third time in the history of the Order of the Arrow a patch may be worn on the Sash.  This patch represents the Centuries of Service Award available for all Arrowmen to earn this year.  The program started in July of 2014 and will conclude in December of 2015.
The requirements allow for the Arrowmen, both Youth and Adult to serve in three areas.  Personal Growth, Scout Service, and 100th Anniversary Events.
As stated, this is the third time in the history of the Order of the Arrow that a program such as this and allowing a patch to be permanently attached to the sash.
oa_50th_ann_awardThe first award or special patch was for the Orders 50th Anniversary.  In 1965.award encouraged Arrowmen to participate fully within their Lodges.  The culminating event that year was the National Order of the Arrow Conference at the Indiana University.  The theme for that year was “Mindful of our High Tradition”.

The Second time a patch was authorized for wear on the sash was in 1975 for the Orders 60th Anniversary.
The celebration of the 60th Anniversary was, in keeping with the tradition set ten years earlier in the 50th Anniversary celebration a National event.  Because of timing of this celebration, the Order coupled its event with the upcoming Bicentennial of the Nation the following year.  The requirements for the 60th Award included An 60annpatchArrowman’s Personal Development; Bicentennial Involvement; and Unit, Lodge, or Council Involvement. All requirements were outlined on an official scorecard, and were to be completed between September 1, 1975 and June 14, 1977.
Image-898 OA 75th Anniversary AwardThe Order of the Arrow tried something a bit different for the 75th Anniversary.  Instead of a patch to be worn on the sash, the OA made a pocket dangle.  The award was a Red and White ribbon with a Turtle superimposed over an arrow.  The Turtle being the original symbol of the Order of the Arrow and still the totem for the Unami Lodge #1.  The award was worn from the right pocket.  Again the requirements for the award focused on three central themes; the Individual Challenge, the Lodge Challenge, and the Rededication Ceremony.
So here we are celebrating our 100th Anniversary as Scouting’s Honor Society.  Three themes lead us to serving.  Our dedication to serve over a Century as an Order.  Again we encourage all Arrowmen to celebrate and earn this award.  These themes will drive the Arrowmen (Youth and Adult) to serve their Lodge, Council, and Units as well as grow as an Arrowmen.
100cosIf you have not already done so you can download the applications, one for Adults and one for Youth.
Once you have completed the requirements (a scout is Trustworthy) turn the application into your advisor and show that you have joined in the celebration and you are proud of the tradition of service of an Arrowmen.
Again The purpose of the Arrowman Service Award (ASA) is to encourage Arrowmen to recommit themselves to the ideals of the Order, increase their level of service to their local unit and council, and participate in the 100th anniversary celebration of the OA.  It’s already on my sash… celebrate this historic event and show that you are a Leader in Service!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Patch Trading

patch1One of the fun traditions of Scouting is patch trading. I have been acquiring patches now since about 1978. I would like to say that I have a ton of patches, but I really don’t. You see, I did like most Scouts and Scouters do and did, I got a patch for going to Camporee or Summer camp, a new Lodge Flap, or a special event and threw them in a box. No rhyme or reason, just a box of patches. Over the years some got tossed and others given away. I wish I knew then what I know now.
Then in 2010, I went to the National Jamboree. Before we left a good friend of mine, also a Scoutmaster, suggested that I get extra patches for trading. I was reluctant as I was not a patch collector or trader for that matter. Yeah, I liked to get patches and liked to go to the trade-o-ree at Conclave but a collector or trader I was not.
So, I bought extra patch sets and the night before we left for Jambo I threw in a handful of patches that I had from the box into my duffel bag.
My eyes where opened to the world of patch trading on the steps of the Smithsonian were Scouts had laid out blankets and were trading. Then we got to Ft. A P Hill and as far as you could see patches exchanged hands and hand shakes sealed the deal on a trade. I decided that I would try to trade for patches from the Councils in which I held membership as a youth. The National Capital Area Council, The Transatlantic Council, and the Calcasieu Area Council. In my travels around the National Jamboree I found myself seeking out Scouters from those three Councils and I did. I ended up trading set for set the 2010 Jamboree patches from the Councils of my youth. I had been bitten by the bug and now I could not walk around the Jamboree site without looking for patches.
I literally bumped into Bob Mazzuca the Chief Scout Executive one afternoon, he gave me his patch. Then Tico Perez, the National Commissioner surrendered one of his patches for my collection. I met a ton of great Scouters over patch conversations and handshakes. I started collecting and trading.
Once we got home from Jamboree the collecting did not end. Each event patch brought new meaning, I paid attention at OA events and sought out patches I did not have. I got into trading patches on Facebook. The patches in my box started to become a collection.
Patch trading is a great tradition. It creates an environment of fellowship. The patches tell a story. Each event patch sparks a memory. Each trade a new friend. This year is a special year for the Order of the Arrow and a great time to collect special patches. And so the patches and the story of this year is going to be not only unique, but special much like Jamboree years.
So here is what I thought we could do. As you know I like to think of this blog as the meeting after the meeting after the one in the parking lot. And now I am going to throw out my patch blanket. Over the next weeks and months, lets trade cloth and a virtual handshake. I will post some patches. If you would like to trade, just send me a note. First response will get the trade, but we can keep this going as long as you like.
I will post a picture of the patch and let you know if I am looking for something specific for it. Fair enough?
100lodgeflapTo get things started I would love to trade Centennial Flap for Centennial Flap. The patch I am trading is the Wauna La Mon’tay Lodge #442 Centennial Flap.  This Flap was just issued and was made in limited quantity.  It is brand new, never sewn.  I have three (3) of these to trade.  Again, Centennial Flap for Centennial Flap.  Let me know.  Send me a message in the comments section.  Or email your trade to tbirdironchef@gmail.com.
This could be a lot of fun.  Let’s have fun with this.
Patch trading and collection is such a fun tradition, lets keep it going!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

 

 

 

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Epic Fail Dude…

failWe just got home and got cleaned up from this years District Camporee.  It was a good event, not without it’s ups and downs and for one Troop, disappointment.
This morning we stood and watched as Troops received ribbons for placing in events and then the Camporee Top Troop.  This Troop gets a flag and bragging rights for a year.  Our Troop fell short once again.  But as with all things in Scouting there were learning opportunities to be found and shared through this event.
We held our monthly Patrol Leaders Council Meeting when we got back to the hall.  Of course it started with what we could have done better and where they think they fell short.
It was identified that they did not work as well as team within their Patrols.  They could have shown more Scout Spirit. They are enthusiastic, but are not always Rah Rah kinds of Patrols.  Just their nature, but it does not score well at Camporee.  Many Scoutmasters in our District think that if you are not yelling and jumping around you are not motivated and lacking in Scout Spirit.  I disagree, but then again, it is not helping our Troop when it comes to the final score.
Scout Skills are not an issue.  In every event that involved Scout skills, they did very well.  But the little things that were subjective to judging ended up hurting them in the end.
To some of the Scouts it was an epic fail.  The gateway was amazing, but not good enough.  The camp site was perfect, but did not show the judges what a car camping Troop looked like.  The menus were simple, the camp craft was basic.  Basic, but perfect.
An epic fail some of the Scouts said.  But not an indicator of failures.  I think the Senior Patrol put it best today during the PLC meeting when he said, “It’s ok for us to fail… it’s not ok for us to be failures.  We are only failure if we don’t learn and get better.”  I think this young man has been listening to his Scoutmaster.
It was not an epic fail… but yes, we failed to achieve our goals.  One Scout came to me it seemed in an effort to console me in our loss and said.. “We’ll get’em next year.”  Yep, I think we will but we have learning to do and some effort in learning to play the game a little better.
I wish it was just about Scout skills, but it is what it is.
I will not rant about all the moms making sure their little precious was drinking water and keeping up with his patrol. I will not rant about the dad’s that felt that it was unfair to not give points to a Patrol that could not make a fire or splint a sprained ankle.  It just is what it is.
But what it isn’t is an Epic Fail.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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How Healthy is your Troop?

Summer Camp Wrap UpAs in the business world, Scouting is something that can and is ranked and rated.  The things that we do in Scouting, in keeping with all great organizations that have a purpose and direction, a vision, measure what they do to stay focused and on track.  We measure our Packs, Troops, and Crews with the standard of the Journey to Excellence.  In past we used the measurement of the Quality Unit to make sure that we at the unit level are delivering the promise of Scouting.
In other words, we have systems in place to measure the Health of our units.  We can look to those systems to analyze numerically how we are doing, but does it tell you the story of the health of our units?
Last week I had the pleasure to sit behind a Scout from my Troop as his advocate during his Eagle Scout Board of Review.  My Scouts always joke after these Eagle Boards that it is the quietest that I am during their Scouting career.  This is the eleventh Scout that I have sat with as he answers questions and demonstrates to the Board that his is in fact an Eagle Scout.
This last board however I really watched the process and listened.  What I came out of the board with was the fact that our unit is healthy.  As I listened to this Scout tell about his Scouting experience, the places he has been, the awards he earned, the leadership he developed I could not help but think back to when this young man came to our Troop.  Like most young Scouts he crossed over from a Cub Scout Pack and followed his friends.  They all came to our Troop with the understanding that they would be a part of a great adventure.  It was up to the older Scouts and our adult leaders to make the promise come true.
We have always took great pride in the way that we deliver Scouting’s programs in our Troop.  We use the eight methods to achieve the goals of Scouting and place at a premium the Scouts overall experience in Scouting over one method or another.  Advancement being one of the methods that we believe will happen when a Scout is engaged in his unit.  The age old adage of the more a Scout puts into Scouting, the more he gets out of it.
This has played out over and over again, and listening to Matt, I could see that it would play out again with him.
He participated fully, going to Summer camps every year, attending monthly camp outs, ultimately becoming a Staffer at one of our Council camps.  He we to Philmont with the Troop and enjoyed a fun time with a patrol of great Scouts.  He carried his leadership learned in Scouting to his participation on the Football field and on the Track as a two sport athlete in High School.  Being a Scout was not always easy, but he managed to do well and come out of both Scouting and his time in our Troop with an understanding of how to be a leader, skills for life, and a good citizen.  The aims of Scouting can be seen in him.
So we measure Scouting and the health of our units using metrics and systems that place our performance in categories and rankings.  We are either Bronze, Silver, or Gold but what does that mean to our Scouts.  Free patches or a price break for summer camp?
The real measure of the health of your unit is in your Scouts. Are they staying?  Are they attending activities?  Are they seeking leadership opportunities?  Are they advancing?  Do they wear the uniform and take pride in belonging to their Troop?  Do they take advantage of the programs of Scouting. Jamborees, High Adventure bases, and the Order of the Arrow?
When they sit with you during Scoutmaster conferences is it a chore or a conversation?  I find that the easiest conference that I do is the conference for a Scout earning his Eagle award.  If it has not been said or discussed prior to this conference we have missed something along the way.  By the time he is having his conference for Star, we have discussed his need to be of service and to develop leadership.  We look to the Scout to take a bigger role as a trainer for the younger Scouts.  We look for him to become a servant leader.
By the time he is having his conference for Eagle he has already demonstrated all of those things we are looking for and as he stumbled along the way we helped him up, encouraged him to keep going, and had many conversations about what he is doing good and bad.  He has had many opportunities to learn, grow, and develop.  He has earned his Eagle.  He has lived the Scout Oath and Law and made the most of his Scouting experience.
As I sit and listen I can’t help but think that these Boards of Review, whether it is for Star, Life or Eagle are the true measure of the health of the unit.  They satisfy the adult interaction method and allow the Troop and District a peek into the life of our Scouts and the health of the unit.
So how healthy is your Troop?  How do you measure the health?  Do you take advantage of listening to your Scouts?  They will tell you everything you need to know about what kind of program you are running and how well your Scouts are doing in it.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Badges… we don’t need no stinking Badges…

patch1While it is true that we don’t need no stinking badges… We do have a need for patches and lots of them.
If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I am in a patch phase.  Well truth be told, I have been a patch guy for a long time, but until recently, as in this year, I have made the transition from one who acquires patches to one that has a patch collection.
What the heck does that mean?  Well, in looking into collecting patches I have been researching some collections and getting focus on the type of patches I want in my collection.  While I have a bunch of patches.. and I mean a bunch… I have looked at what I really want to collect.
patch2I have an extensive collection of Scouting literature.  Scout handbooks being the the center piece of the collection.  I collect Handbooks, Fieldbooks, and Scoutmaster Handbooks.  The rest of the collection is miscellanious Scouting pamplets, booklets, and Boys Life magazines.  I have been collecting these for years now and enjoy the style and history found in the collection.  I have not really been a collector, I did have a small collection of Baseball cards at one time, but I can’t say that there was any passion in that collection.
patch3Scouting patches tell a story.  They mark a place in time and share Scouting’s history in the threads that make up the patch.
So when I look at patches I see that time in Scouting and the event that it represents.  I have patches from my time as a youth in Scouting.  Patches from Camp Freedom in Germany.  Camporee’s in Belgium, and summer camps in Louisiana.
As an adult I starting amassing patches as a Cub Scout leader and then the cool patches started being added to the pile when I got back into the awesome world of our Boy Scout Troop.  I had forgotten how great Order of the Arrow patches are and how much I enjoy them.
So this year I am becoming more focused with my collection.  Jamboree patches from 2010, Order of the Arrow Patches, Council Should Patches (CSP’s) and Badges of Rank at the focus of the collection.  Everything else will still be added to the pile and one day used as trading material or maybe even become some patches that I move into a collection.
The collection however is not just patches.  They are patches that tell a story.  They are patches that are sequenced or a series.  They are from my past in Scouting.  They reflect what I am in Scouting and what I do.  For example CPS’s that represent Wood Badge.  This being the Centennial Year of the Order of the Arrow, I am collecting OA patches that tell the 100th Anniversary story.  I want to collect Lodge flaps in particular.  Right now, it is a small collection, but I think that attending the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) this year is going to bring lots of opportunities to increase this collection.
One of the things that I am doing to make my patches into a nice collection is not only completing sets or series, but I have began framing for display the patches.  This has really become a fun part of the collecting. Looking at them and sharing them with the Scouts of the troop at special events.
Again, with NOAC coming up I am encouraging the Scouts of my Troop that are attending also to start their collection.  At NOAC as well as Jamboree, Camporees, and Tradeorees, patch trading is a part of the tradition and growing of the brotherhood of Scouting.  It is a way to connect with other Scouts and learn a little about them and where they are from.  Looking at patches from around other Councils or Lodges and what kind of Scouting they do.
Those of you that have been to a Jamboree know what part patch trading plays in the event.  I know that through trading I have met many great Scouters and learned more about our scouting world.
So no.. we don’t need no stinking badges.. but they sure are fun and a great part of Scouting and its history.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Follower

calmwoodbadgeIts never late to learn, you are never to old to figure things out… you don’t know it all.
You know what famous person this quote is from?  Yeah..me neither.. I just wrote it, but I am sure that there are lots of great leaders out there that share my sentiment when I say there are times when you have to remember to practice what you preach.
I tell our Scouts that to be an effective leader you must first learn and develop the ability to be a good follower.
Yep, you need to follow before you can be a good leader.  It is a simple statement, but very true.  You are never in a position where you are not accountable.  As a Dad your kids count on you, you are accountable to them.  Your spouse counts on you and holds you in account.  Your boss, your community, they all count on you and therefore you are accountable to them.  You need to be able to follow their needs.  You must be able to be a part of the team that makes a contribution to moving them toward high performance.  You will not always be in a place where you are out front, making decisions, and getting things done.  Sometimes your place is subordinate and that of a member of the team.  Your role is an important one.  That of a follower, a good team player, available to give input and take direction.  As a follower you know the vision and direction of the leader, you know what it takes to move the team forward.
We used to hear the term “Lots of Chiefs, not enough Indians”.  While some may think that we could find a better way to put it, the message is clear.  We need members of the team as much as we need effective leaders.  At times there can be too many voices that confuse, contradict, and undermine the message.  We teach in Wood Badge and in our Troops what effective communication is and those skills to be better communicators.  Again, it is important not to lose focus on practicing what we preach.  There are senders and receivers.  But the most important part is the message.  When building a high performance team the message is greater than the other parts.  It is the leaders job to communicate effectively and it is the receiver or followers job to listen.
Today at our Wood Badge Staff Development I had to step back and remember that I am a follower on this course.  There have been clear directions and vision given.  I am a member of a team that is well on its way to being one working at a high performance level.  The unique part of a Wood Badge Staff is that we are all good Scouters, we are all motivated, we are all leaders.  It is in that environment that takes the most attention and awareness that we need to follow.
I had a personal bout of storming today.  I quickly realized that to get to performing, I need to be a better follower.
Hmmm… you can teach a on old beaver new tricks.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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New Pack- Quick Look

Hey gang.. Been awhile.. certainly got away from my blogging goals over the last couple weeks.
No real excuse other than to say other things have taken priority.
The Troop obviously, Staffing Wood Badge once again, and of course family life.  Other Scouting opportunities have been popping up in the world of training also.  I have recently taught Train the Trainer for our Council and Trainers EDGE over the last month or so.. so lots going on and I have not really had time to sit down and bang away at the computer.
In the mean time I got some new gear and I am super excited about my new Backpack.  I ordered it direct from Osprey back in January, but due to the striking long shore men the pack just got here yesterday.  Ah well.. it is what it is..
So I will be doing a thorough review and video on it in the near future, but today (after painting the living room and hall) my wife said I could play with my new toy.
I thought I would share my initial thoughts on the Pack with you and like I said, I will get into the weeds with it soon.
First of all I now have the Osprey Aether 60.  I went with the Aether 60 pack as that volume seems to be the sweet spot for my backpacking gear, style, and they way I pack.
I have tried to go smaller, but find that I struggle with loading the pack and having my gear accessible while on the trail.  Any bigger on the other hand, and I find that I want to fill it.  Unneeded gear and extras that I can do without.
So I went with the 63 liter pack. The Osprey Aether series packs come in various sizes ranging from 55 liters to 85 liters.  The 55 is just a hair to small for me.  I have been using my Mountain Hardwear Koa 55 this past year and have really been unhappy with the way I have to fight it.  The 85 liter packs are designed for expeditions and does not fit my needs.  Again, when choosing your next pack, know your sweet spot.
The Osprey Aether 60 also comes in 3 different sizes Small which is 3478 cubic inches of space or 57 liters, Medium which is 3661 cubic inches or 60 liters, and Large which comes in at 3844 cubic inches or 63 liters or space.  Again, I went with the Large or 63 as it meets my needs and fit my frame.
Which brings me to sizing.  It is important to size your pack.  I went to my local REI and met with a sales rep.  He is trained in sizing for the custom fit of the Osprey packs.  Using the Osprey measuring tool at the store we determined that I needed a medium pack to fit my torso.
The nice thing about the Osprey packs are that they are custom.  You can mix and match pack components.  The Shoulder straps, hip bet, and Frame are all interchangeable.
The hip belt can be custom molded to your hips.  This is highly recommended, but if you do not have an authorized retailer with the hip belt oven near you, just wearing the hip belt as you hike will heat it enough to mold it to your hips.
So why did I pick this pack over others?  After all I have carried a good Kelty External Frame pack, the Mountain Hardwear pack, a Granite Gear light pack, and the ULA Ohm over the last couple of years.  Well, it came down to fitting my needs and my style of backpacking.
Since we have been back from Philmont (2012) I have been toying the idea of getting a new pack.  I carried the Granite Gear pack at Philmont and it was not big enough to handle the gear we carried as a crew.. namely all the water.  The ULA pack, while I loved how comfortable it is did not fit my needs for winter camping and I found myself worried about its durability.
An Assistant Scoutmaster in our Troop had been carrying the Osprey pack and after our big backpacking trip in the Olympics last summer I started looking at his pack and how it may fit my needs.  After doing my homework.. I came to conclusion that the Osprey Aether 60 was for me.
Here are the specifics:
The pack weighs in at 4 lbs 11 ounces.  A bit heavier that I would like in a pack, but I had to make a compromise somewhere.  With my overall gear getting lighter I am ok with the base pack weight being a little heavier.
The Aether is made of 210D and 75D Stretch woven ripstop nylon and 500D plain weave nylon oxford.  I got the Arroyo Red pack.  It also comes in a Blue and Green.
Features of the pack that I drew me to it; A nice removable top pouch that can become a Lumbar pack for day trips.  I like the separate sleeping bag compartment at the bottom and I love the Airscape Suspension (back panel).   It breaths well and is super comfortable.
With this pack it is the little details that I really love.  All of the zipper pulls are fantastic.  They are a molded plastic covered pull, comfortable to pull and usable with gloves.
There are plenty of ways to compress the pack for a custom fit.
Finally the outside back panel is a huge stretch pocket.  Great for storing all of those need to get to fast items.
The pack is a top loader, but it also has front panel access.
Ok.. so am starting to get a little to far into the weeds with this.  I will be doing a good video review soon.  In the mean time, here is a short video put out by Osprey.  It will give you an introduction to my new pack.
My first impression is that I like it a lot.  I love the ease of access, the design, and the over all detail in the features.

Stay tuned for a full review.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

E. Urner Goodman

Dr. E. Urner Goodman is the man that founded the Order of the Arrow.  His story is one of love of Scouting and of teaching young men to grow into men of Character.
I stumbled on this video the other day and thought it is worth sharing.
For those Scouters that feel the Order of the Arrow “takes away” or is “Cliquish” I would suggest that you get involved with the Order of the Arrow and learn more about it.  Become active within your Chapter if you get the feeling of the Clique.
Clearly it is not the intent or purpose of the Order of the Arrow.
Listen to the founder of the Order, Dr. E. Urner Goodman

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog | 2 Comments

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